Garden opens in memory of old friend

Cookscroft Garden in Earnley
Cookscroft Garden in Earnley

A PICTURESQUE garden which has blossomed over the past 20 years with the help of four green-fingered amateurs will be opening its doors in memory of one of the original quartet, Adrian Harmes.

John and Jill Williams, who bought Cookscroft Garden in Earnley in the 1980s, have been working with Adrian’s wife Margaret to open the garden for two days this spring.

The garden is run under the National Garden Scheme, which donates money to nursing, caring and gardening charities.

However, the team at Cookscroft Garden have decided to donate all the money they make from teas to St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

“We lost one of the original quartet in December, who died in St Wilfrid’s Hospice and we are anxious to push the garden in his memory by making, not only our NGS collection which goes largely to the district nurses and the Macmillan Nursing Fund, but also by separately donating all the tea money to the hospice,” said John.

When John and Jill bought the house and five acres of fields, they teamed up with keen gardeners Adrian and his wife Margaret who were enthusiastic about joining the project.

“Adrian was a keen gardener himself and with a wife who was secretary of the Horticultural and Allotment Society in Chichester, he asked if we would consider letting them join us in the project and hence, a team was established,” said John.

“In order to do a project such as this without becoming bankrupt, we had to grow everything we could from seed or liners.”

The garden boasts collections of eucalyptus, birch, snake bark, maples and unusual shrubs and is home to three ponds with waterfalls, a woodland area, a cottage garden and a Japanese garden.

“This is an ongoing project for no garden ever stands still. The only way to really gain an idea of what this project is about is to see it.

“When we started and until a couple of years ago, everything had been done by the four of us and that could only be at weekends since both Adrian and I had busy jobs. Regrettably, time is taking its toll, for the past two years we have been grateful for some younger help.”

Cookscroft Gardens is open on May 26 and 27 from 1pm-5pm, although the team are happy to welcome visitors at other times if they ring first. A wide variety of plants will be on sale.